Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Conditon* (for Condition*)

For such a concise little conjunction, if can really pack a punch. It's the title of quite a few songs (by the likes of Perry Como, Joni Mitchell, Bananarama, Pink Floyd, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers), along with a handful of other cultural products (film, comic strip, sci fi mag, video game, couple of TV shows, etc.). Perhaps the most memorable of all of these, though, is the inspiring poem by Rudyard Kipling, which begins: "If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you / If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you / But make allowance for their doubting too / If you can wait and not be tired by waiting / Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies / Or being hated, don’t give way to hating / And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise..." It may also be the longest teaser in existence to a conditional sentence beginning with "If...". After four eight-line stanzas, the poet finally produces the payoff: "You'll be a Man, my son." We've blogged about Rudyard Kipling before, but given as today is the great man's birthday (born in Bombay in 1865), I say, "What the hell? One more time!" There were 54 cases of today's typo found in OhioLINK today, and 1,414 in WorldCat.

(Father and son, John Lockwood Kipling and young Rudyard, circa 1890, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 28, 2015

Toleren* (for Toleran*)

'Tis the season to be indulgent, and 'twould certainly seem that there are many ways of doing that. Adults can indulge in too much booze and fattening foods, and kids in too many presents. It's often said, though frequently ignored, that if you over-indulge your brood, you may end up with a bunch of spoiled brats on your hands. But even God might have once turned a blind eye, at least when it came to His Catholic flock, who were officially offered "indulgences" for their sins. I saw a television ad the other night for lip balm (a "velvety blend of shea, mango, and tucuma butters"), the wearing of which was reported to be a "truly indulgent experience." Indulgent? I thought. Or self-indulgent? Or do those two words overlap sufficiently such that the first can often be used in place of the second? (As with disciplined and self-disciplined, perhaps. But not educated and self-educated. Or righteous and self-righteous. Etc.) It just seems odd, I guess, since logic would suggest that the more one person indulges another, the more that first person would have to deny (or fail to indulge) himself. (There are words that contain their own opposites, though. They're called contronyms.) In any case, I figured it might be okay to occasionally use the word indulgent to mean self-indulgent and this proved to be true, at least according to a couple of online dictionaries that included definitions such as "done or enjoyed as a special pleasure" and "showing, characterized by, or given to self-indulgence." But others omitted that secondary meaning entirely. In 1823, the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was printed anonymously in a Troy, New York, newspaper. Twenty years later, Clement C. Moore claimed it as his own and the nation has indulged him in that self-indulgent notion ever since. However, according to Don Foster, in the 2000 book Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous, it was very likely written by a different man entirely: Major Henry Livingston, Jr. "Another possibility," says Foster, "is that Mr. Moore wrote 'Old Santeclaus.' In fact, if 'Old Santeclaus' was not written by the original Grinch, Professor Clement Clarke Moore himself, then call me 'Rudolph' and never let me play in reindeer games. That 1821 Santeclaus poem has the Professor's stylistic fingerprints all over it. Giving credit where credit is due, I think Moore may be credited with having written one of America's first Santa Claus poems—not 'A Visit from St. Nicholas,' but 'Old Santeclaus.'" The former poem has "visions of sugarplums" dancing in childish heads, and it describes St. Nick thusly: "A bundle of toys was flung on his back, and he look'd like a peddler just opening his pack." In the latter poem, however, Moore ominously warns: "But where I found the children naughty / In manners rude, in temper haughty / Thankless to parents, liars, swearers / Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers / I left a long, black, birchen rod / Such as the dread command of God / Directs a Parent's hand to use / When virtue's path his sons refuse." So which poet and parent do you think was the most indulgent? (Note: I wasn't able to find many typos for that word and its various forms, so please indulge me in the substitution of a synonym, Toleren*, for which there were 13 found in OhioLINK, and 577 in WorldCat.)

(Photo taken of "heckler" at "The Trial Before Christmas," Rensselaer County Courthouse, December 18, 2013.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 25, 2015

Stanwick + Stanwyck (for Stanwyck or Stanwick)

I love Preston Sturges films, and this little-known gem from 1940 (the last screenplay Sturges wrote before going on to direct), was bound to be no exception. Mitchell Leisen's Remember the Night, starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck (paired again four years later in Double Indemnity), is an odd but charming cinematic hybrid—equal parts romantic comedy, Christmas movie, and courtroom drama. Known for her sizzling yet plain-spoken persona during the "Pre-Code" thirties and as a bit of a "tough broad" in general, Stanwyck plays a rather cavalier shoplifter of expensive jewelry, while MacMurray, in an equally tough but softhearted role (twenty years before his pater familias in My Three Sons reared its reasonable head), is the smitten attorney who manages to take her home for the holidays, instead of off to trial, at least, that is, for a little while. All ends almost happily for these two—along with love, capitalism, and the American legal system. Although Preston Sturges always makes sure both sides are clearly heard from. Today's typo was apprehended once in OhioLINK, and 53 times in WorldCat.

(Cropped screenshot of Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck from the trailer for the film Remember the Night, 1940, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sotck* (for Stock*)

In the famous 1823 Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, the author (i.e., Clement C. Moore or Henry Livingston, Jr.) observes that "the stockings were hung by the chimney with care." In the 1975 Broadway hit Chicago, unrepentant inmate Velma Kelly declares, "I'm gonna rouge my knees and roll my stockings down." And in 1945, Japan surrenders to the Allies, and DuPont issues a press release announcing: "Peace, It’s Here! Nylons on Sale!" For many months, in what the press would gleefully dub the "Nylon Riots," American women stood impatiently in long lines, knocked down store displays, and even scratched and pulled each other's hair over what would turn out to be drastically limited stock of the heralded hosiery. (This ultimately led to an antitrust suit against the company as well.) Stockings have played an important part in our nation's history (dare I say herstory?) and the story, as they say, continues to have legs. Prior to the invention of nylons, which were rolled out to the public at the 1939 World's Fair, stockings had been made out of wool, linen, cotton, rayon, or silk. Which were itchy, baggy, difficult to get, and/or easily destroyed. Nylons were the answer to a prayer. However, during the war, all of the available nylon (Japan had stopped exporting silk) went toward the production of parachutes, airplane cords, and rope. Nylon stockings eventually made a comeback, though, and were enjoyed for another ten years or so before morphing uncomfortably into "pantyhose." And while today's girls and young women can scarcely appreciate the fact, it would be several decades more before we were finally blessed with things like organic cotton tights, Spandex, and footless leggings. Today's typo was pulled up three times in OhioLINK, and 118 times in WorldCat. Stock it to me, baby!

(Photo of a girl in "flapper" garb taken in Moscow, Idaho, in 1922, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 21, 2015

Propery (for Property or Properly)

Last week during a particularly underwhelming webinar at work, I wearily propped up my head and read the following words: "Is the term a real property?" Followed by a line that read: "Is the term defined properly?" I was genuinely mystified as to whether I was witnessing an actual typo there or not. Later on, I tried searching on Propertly, but nothing came up, so I decided to omit both the T and the L—and voilà: Propery, with 22 hits in OhioLINK and 339 in WorldCat. Even though typos are considered improper by definition, there's a lot to be said for investigating them properly. In their own ungainly way, they can prove valuable property when it comes to the business of "keeping our online catalogs free of errors." I also had a hard time finding a salubrious illustration for today's posting—until I came across this one, which, despite the cold gray rain coming down outside, fills me with hope for a speedy spring.

(Before the Thames gets properly wet, on a bike ride along the Thames pathway, August 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Constructon* (for Construction, etc.)

On December 26, 1928, Joseph E. Withrow and Lyman W. Close of Toledo, Ohio, filed an application with the United States Patent office for an invention called “Burner.” In essence, they had created an apparatus for use in “street torches, such as are commonly used for illuminating road obstructions, and usually referred to as construction torches,” with the purpose of “increasing the efficiency of such torches and militating against extinguishment of the torch flame.” More specifically, the goals were “to provide a burner so constructed and arranged that liability of extinguishment of the flame by high winds or by rain is reduced to a minimum” and to offer a device “which may be inexpensively manufactured.”

The patent, number 1732708, was granted on October 22, 1929 to assignee the Toledo Pressed Steel Company. Now what, you ask, has this to do with anything? Well, if you’re of a certain age, you might remember that these little kerosene smudge pots, looking for all the world like cartoon bombs, were once used throughout the United States to mark road construction projects and other hazards. They were sold under the moniker “Toledo Torch,” and as a child, I loved them. They’re no longer made by the original manufacturer, but authentic specimens can still be found for sale on eBay and other Web sites.

There are 11 instances of today’s typo Constructon* in OhioLINK, and WorldCat can lay claim to 162 entries.

(A Toledo Torch, from eBay listing)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, December 11, 2015

Marjerie* (for Marjorie, etc.)

"Don't put a cold in your pocket! Use Kleenex," advises Little Lulu in an ad from a 1948 Ladies Home Journal. Although the unseasonably warm weather outside doesn't look nearly as frightful as it does inside the pages of this vintage magazine, I've already caught my first drippy bug of the season and can certainly see her point. Little Lulu was the brainchild of a woman named Marjorie Henderson Buell, or just "Marge," as she was often known in the burgeoning world of newspaper comics (and perhaps even in part to ward off the continual misspelling of her name). She was born in Philadelphia on December 11, 1904, and homeschooled along with her two sisters until the age of 11 or 12. She showed a penchant for drawing early on (her mother was an "amateur cartoonist" and her father a "raconteur") and was only 16 when her first cartoon was published in Philly's Public Ledger. Her first syndicated comic strip, "The Boyfriend," and another called "Dashing Dot," both ran during the Roaring Twenties. In 1934, the Saturday Evening Post was looking to replace Carl Anderson's stolid, yet solid, "Henry" strip and offered Buell a job. She created Little Lulu on the theory that "a girl could get away with more fresh stunts that in a small boy would seem boorish". Well, and perhaps even in a girl. In her debut on February 23, 1935, Marge depicted "Lulu Moppet" as an anarchic flower girl, strewing banana peels down the aisle instead of rose petals. Buell was a hard-headed businesswoman who shunned the spotlight. Little Lulu, the Flappers' younger sister, is a bit of a feminist icon. Buell gave up drawing Little Lulu in 1947, but retained control over her image until she retired in 1971. Lulu often seems to be making the best of a patch of bad weather, and so should you and I. While there are various spellings of the name Marjorie (e.g., Margerie, Margorie, and even Margory), the only one I could think of that didn't appear in at least one name authority record was Marjerie—ergo, our typo for the day. Feel free to sniff around any of those other ones, though, in various combinations if you like, and please use Kleenex wherever appropriate. (Or maybe even where inappropriate.) This one was found just once in OhioLINK, and 14 times in WorldCat.

(Ladies Home Journal, 1948, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Decemv* (for Decemb*)

December is the twelfth and final month in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, but it was the tenth month in the Roman one, which began its year with March. (Decem means ten in Latin.) It's a good month in which to party, at least in parts of the world where December is cold and dark, and is perhaps most famously associated with Christmas and Hanukkah. However, there are quite a few religious and ethnic holidays to commemorate his month, as well as a long laundry list of other partisan, facetious, thought-provoking, and serious "days" to choose from, such as "Children's Day" (celebrated in different places on different days, first proclaimed in 1925, then universally established in 1954); Great Britain's "Chewidden Thursday" (marking the discovery of "white" or smelted tin—by a saint); "Military Abolition Day" in Costa Rica (where the military and police are pretty much one and the same thing); Turkmenistan's "Good Neighborliness Day" (kind of speaks for itself); and Canada's "White Ribbon Day" (on which to recall the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, in which an armed student murdered fourteen women in the name of "fighting feminism"). The flower for December is Narcissus, which to me might signify the very best thing about this month: that it's all downhill from here and that soon enough we'll be seeing lovely yellow and white daffodils waving in the yard. There were 58 cases of today's typo found in OhioLINK, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(Narcissus papyraceus, Kyoto, Japan, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 7, 2015

Faye + Fay (for Fay or Faye)

Fay Okell Bainter was born this day in Los Angeles in 1893. While no longer exactly a "household name," she was a very fetching and talented actress back in the day. She has often been described as dignified and reserved, classy, but exceedingly pleasant. She deserves to have her name spelled right. By the age of fifteen, Fay Bainter had begun acting on stage, and in 1912 she debuted on Broadway in The Rose of Panama. She stayed there for the next twenty years, but was eventually launched onto the silver screen in 1934, in the MGM film This Side of Heaven. That year she also appeared in the Broadway play Dodsworth and the film It Happened One Day. In 1938 Bainter was nominated "Best Actress" for White Banners and "Best Supporting Actress" for Jezebel, winning an Oscar for the latter, and garnering the distinction of being the first performer to have been nominated for two roles in the same year. (There have been only nine others since then.) She was in the film adaptation of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town; the Tracy-Hepburn vehicle Woman of the Year; the wonderful movie Make Way for Tomorrow; and many more. Her final role was that of the imposing Mrs. Tilford in the 1961 version of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour. Fay Bainter even appeared on the Donna Reed Show one time, which somehow strikes me as charmingly apt. There were 26 instances of Faye + Fay in OhioLINK today, and 339 in WorldCat.

(Portrait of Fay Bainter, by Robert Henri in 1918, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 4, 2015

Woodwro* (for Woodrow, etc.)

It’s hard to imagine now, but on this day in 1918, Woodrow Wilson left Washington, D.C. for Versailles, France, thereby becoming the first sitting American president to make an official trip to Europe. Wilson went there to head the U.S. delegation for the peace talks ending World War I and to advocate for the establishment of his League of Nations. Even if these two endeavors cannot be considered entirely successful when viewed through the lens of subsequent history, his work toward a “just and stable peace” were enough to earn Wilson the 1920 Nobel Peace Prize.

Today’s typo Woodwro* is another uncommon one. There is only one entry in OhioLINK, and WorldCat has a mere 15 (for Woodrow, woodworm, woodworker(s), and Woodworth).

(Woodrow Wilson returning from the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Illnesss* (for Illness, etc.)

As if you needed another reason to hate mosquitoes … say “hello” to chikungunya, the latest mosquito-borne illness to reach the shores of the United States. Transmitted by the species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the virus causes symptoms similar to those of malaria—fevers and aches and pains—but then throws in debilitating joint pain and chronic arthritis for good measure. Now, a new study published in the journal Neurology (and summarized by NPR) tells us that once people have been infected with chikungunya, they appear to be at increased risk for developing encephalitis or other central nervous system diseases. The virus is present in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and so far in the Americas, it’s been discovered in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the state of Florida. For more details, visit the Centers for Disease Control Web site.

It's too bad that mosquitoes are far more common than the typo Illnesss*. There were only 4 entries in OhioLINK and 44 in WorldCat.

(Aedes aegypti, by Muhammad Mahdi Karim, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, November 27, 2015

Depatment* (for Department*)

The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, in New York City, was held on this day in 1924. That makes it a holiday event of rather long standing (long marching?), but in fact it's four years younger than the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, which began in 1920 and has been held continuously ever since. (After Gimbels closed up shop in 1987, several other corporate sponsors have taken it over.) The Macy's parade is actually the same age as America's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit, which is sponsored by Hudson's—or as it's now known, Marshall Fields. I suppose the real reason department stores are so interested in Thanksgiving is that it's only a few weeks before Christmas and hosting a parade is probably seen as a good way to encourage sales. Except for the fact that very few folks (one would hope) are actually into shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Until recently, that is, when "Black Friday" got greedily bumped up to Thursday. It may be a little too pat to point this out, but some people would seem to be more thankful for a discount right about now than for pretty much anything else. We counted 18 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 589 in WorldCat.

(Small children gazing through Macy's toy window, New York City, between 1908 and 1917, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Novenber* (for November*)

Ven—though it has no place in our word of the month here—is shorthand for venerable (which isn't a bad modifier to one's moniker in case one's looking to have one). We have lots of "venerable" people (saints and rulers, mostly), along with some "venerable" religious orders. There's a World War II aircraft carrier, the HMS Venerable, and apparently a ship or two that are similarly dubbed. There is even, among the humblest of God's creatures, one called the Venerable Dart Moth (Agrotis venerabilis), who kind of looks like he's wearing a furry little bishop's cloak. Before November concludes its reign, let us all pay homage to our most venerable Typo, found eight times today in OhioLINK, and 294 times in WorldCat.

(The Immaculate Conception of the Venerable One, or of Soult, copy in Notre-Dame Basilica, Geneva, Switzerland, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chracter* (for Character*)

According to Wikipedia, on November 23, 534 BC, "Thespis of Icaria becomes the first recorded actor to portray a character onstage." It seems that on this date "competitions for tragedy" were instituted at the City Dionysia festival in Athens. Thespis is also the name of the first collaboration between W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. It premièred in London on December 26, 1871. Here, Thespis wasn't only a "character" in the, uh, thespian sense of the word, but was also a "character" in the cut-up sense. Advertised as "An entirely original Grotesque Opera in Two Acts," Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old was originally conceived as ephemeral Christmas fare. The reviews were generally poor, and though it had a fairly long run into the next spring, it was never performed again while Gilbert and Sullivan were still alive. Most of the music of Thespis is lost to time, but the opera has generated renewed interest since the 1950s, with modern versions adapting other works by Sullivan or using new scores entirely. From 534 BC until now, there have been a great many characters on stage. There are also a lot of characters (third meaning of the word!) in our library catalogs. Both of these arenas are excellent places for ideas, but they also afford plenty of opportunities to flub a line. Today's typo (which is missing a character) was found 39 times in OhioLINK, and 980 times in WorldCat.

("Gilbert and Sullivan's Thespis, near the Act I finale. While Thespis demonstrates his haughty managerial 'Don't know yah, don't know yah,' the gods appear unto the actors. All flee except Thespis, who is too busy clowning around." By Adam Cuerden, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wahle* + Whale* (for Whale* or Wahle*)

Moby Dick. The great white whale. Okay, I'll admit that (unlike Woody Allen's tragicomic poser Leonard Zelig) I've never actually read the book. But a good friend of mine just did, and now he can't shut up about it. Moby-Dick was inspired, at least in part, by an 80-ton sperm whale that on November 20, 1820, attacked a ship from Nantucket called the Essex while it was sailing in the South Pacific. This led to an awful ordeal for the surviving crew, but the amazing tales told in its wake are believed to have formed the basis for Herman Melville's famous novel published in 1851. There are at least two other contenders for that honor, though: one Mocha Dick, the storied "White Whale of the Pacific"; and yet another one that the Dutch settlers of Albany (which was then called Fort Orange) swear they once saw floating up the Hudson River. According to a report by Antony de Hooges, taken from the Van Rensselaer Manor Papers held at the New York State Library: "On the 29th of March in the year 1647 a certain fish appeared before us here in the colony, which we estimated to be of a considerable size. He came from below and swam past us a certain distance up to the sand bars and came back towards evening, going down past us again. He was snow-white, without fins, round of body, and blew water up out of his head, just like whales or tunas. It seemed very strange to us because there are many sand bars between us and Manhattan, and also because it was snow-white, such as no one among us has ever seen; especially, I say, because it covered a distance of 20 [Dutch] miles of fresh water in contrast to salt water, which is its element. Only God knows what it means. But it is certain, that I and most all of the inhabitants [watched] it with great amazement. On the same evening that this fish appeared before us, we had the first thunder and lightning of the year..." Herman Melville was born in 1819 in New York City and moved to Albany with his family at the age of eleven, where he continued to live throughout the 1830s. So it certainly seems conceivable that our very own "white whale" could have been the same one that animated Albany's budding young writer. Finding a typo to go with today's story, much like the hunt for Moby Dick himself, proved to be a rather elusive quest, but I finally harpooned three of these in OhioLINK and 110 in WorldCat—most of them for proper names like Whalen or Whaley. One which especially caught my eye was for James Whale, the 1930s filmmaker who brought another 19th-century literary leviathan to life.

(Mocha Dick, by Jeremiah N. Reynolds, 1870 UK reprint, in the public domain.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Atomsph* (for Atmosph*)

I was filling in at the library on a dismal Saturday afternoon recently when I glanced out the dirt-streaked window to catch some streaks of another sort entirely. What Hi and Lois's baby Trixie would surely have greeted as friends were pouring forth from between long dark cracks in the cloud cover. "Look at that!" beamed my coworker. "Crepuscular rays!" Although it sounds a little bit like an alarming blood disease diagnosis (the word actually means "twilight"), that note is more than made up for by the array of arresting nicknames that have been accorded this phenomenon. Names like "backstays of the sun" (since they resemble the stays that support the mast of a ship); "Ropes of Maui" (from a folk tale in which ropes are attached to the sun to make the day last longer); and "Sun drawing water" (reflecting an ancient Greek belief that sunbeams drew water into the sky, which is really a rather nice description of evaporation.) Oftentimes, they're called things like "Fingers of God," "Jesus Rays," "Jacob's Ladder," or "Buddha Rays." As well as "cloud breaks," "shafts of light," "sunbursts," etc. There are a lot of stunning photos out there depicting this not-uncommon atmospheric condition, but I couldn't resist this one, which perhaps more directly evokes the idea that these heavenly-looking sunbeams are truly gifts from God. (There are "Devil Rays" also, but that only refers to the "anticrepuscular" kind.) God, or those of us crafted imperfectly in Her image, appears to have given us sixteen cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 181 in WorldCat.

(Ochsenfurt, Katholische Stadtpfarrkirche St. Andreas, Innenansicht mit durch die weihrauchgesättigte Luft einfallendem Licht*, November 2011, from Wikimedia Commons.)

*Google translates this to "Ochsenfurt, Catholic Parish Church of St. Andrew, interior with incident through the incense saturated air light"—which may be as good a way of putting it as any!

Carol Reid

Monday, November 16, 2015

Edtion* (for Edition*)

Today's typo is a fairly routine one, being for a word that is quite common to catalogers, and to all of us, really. But apparently it is one we've never blogged about here before. Friday may have started out routinely as well, for most of us, but as the whole world now knows, it ended in an unspeakable tragedy in France. And yet there is almost a fearful sense of predictability, a grim mundanity about it all—the "banality of evil," as Hannah Arendt once put it. Je ne sais quoi is a lovely French phrase for "an indefinable, elusive quality, especially a pleasing one." It literally means: "I know not what." The enormity of the Paris attacks can scarcely be put into words either, it seems, and some of our most trenchant and passionate commentators went with empathy over editorializing in their immediate wake. Stephen Colbert was both moving and amusing at once when he assured his listeners: "If it makes you feel a connection to the people of Paris, go drink a bottle of Bordeaux. Eat a croissant at Au Bon Pain. Slap on a beret and smoke a cigarette like this. Go eat some French fries, which I am now calling Freedom fries in honor of the French people. Anything that is an attempt at human connection in the world right now is positive... Did you get up this morning and not try to kill someone? Then you’re on the right side." Early and late press releases are full of the terrible news today. But there will always be time for a new edition. There were 56 cases of this typo in OhioLINK, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(Stephen Colbert in May 2012, holding his Peabody Award, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 13, 2015

Opportuniy (Opportunity)

I have made this typo myself, on occasion, so I thought I would take the opportunity to offer it to you as well. Some people use mnemonics to help them remember difficult spellings, or simply to remind them of what a word itself means, or perhaps even to inspire a certain esprit de corps ("There's no I in TEAMWORK"), but that sort of thing rarely helps with a simple slip of the finger. Today's word contains both a Y and an I, and even a Y-O-U of sorts, not to mention two O's, two P's, and two T's. So you've got a lot of options here. It's just a matter of taking it slow, making sure you've dotted your I's and crossed your T's, and then not blowing the whole thing right at the very end. There were three missed opportunities in OhioLINK today, and 23 in WorldCat.

("We're ready! For the challenge of tomorrow. Let's do the job ... together!" Poster art, 1941–1945, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Improvm* (for Improvem*)

Does doing a lot of improv improve one's acting? I think that most people who got their start on shows like SCTV (an offshoot of Toronto's Second City troupe) would very likely answer "yes" to that question, or at least something else along the same lines. Though I'm a big believer in the importance of good writing when it comes to television and movie scripts, it's also pretty clear that mastering improv techniques can help an actor or comedian seem more "natural" or spontaneous. Some recent TV shows, like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Reno, 911!, were (amazingly) essentially improvised, and had just general plot outlines to follow, while others, such as The Office or Parks and Recreation, were tightly scripted, but allowed their cast members some leeway for deviation, and often some of the show's best lines. And then there's Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where the entire premise of the program is improv. You can make some important improvements to your own catalog today by searching out and correcting this "high probability" typo, which was found 46 times in OhioLINK, and 1194 times in WorldCat. And with such a high hit count, one could probably try improvising some other typos for this word as well.

(Rick Moranis at the 62nd Academy Awards, photo by Alan Light, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 9, 2015

Altantic (for Atlantic)

It seems like an awful lot of changes are happening here in Albany (as well as in my online life) over the past couple of weeks now, and unfortunately, none of them are really happy ones. Three local institutions (all dating from the 1970s and '80s) are, if not quite going kaput, being considerably altered. Our longtime health-food co-op's management has determined it can no longer support the "member worker" program, essentially turning Honest Weight into a regular old retail store. Our beloved independent movie theater, the Spectrum, has been sold to a national chain. And possibly worst of all, the wonderful and award-winning alternative newsweekly Metroland was seized by the state for non-payment of back taxes. Finally, in a disorienting coup de grâce, fans have just learned that Emily Yoffe (aka "Dear Prudence") will be leaving Slate this week to take a new job at the Atlantic. Times do change, it's true, especially the older you get, but it's all still a bitter pill to swallow. In any event, life goes on; what's the alternative? The Atlantic Monthly (an alternative to the NYC-based Harper's and the New Yorker) was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 9, 1857 (according to Wikipedia's article for November 9, although that looks like it might be a typo itself since the page for the Atlantic says that the first issue was published on Nov. 1), and it's still around today. There were 16 examples of Altantic (for Atlantic) found in OhioLINK, and 423 in WorldCat.

(Photo of Atlantic magazine cover on newsstand, 30 November 2014, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid